Great effort early and late resulted in a 5-3 victory for the Red Wings. If Detroit had lost this game, especially if they lost bad, the narrative would be that they are officially finished and St. Louis/Chicago were the new kings of the division. Like Franklin said in his outstanding gust post last night, Hank would have none of it.
More after the jump:
I'll never forget that empty netter by Hank. I know it's just a regular season game, but how many guys in the NHL put in that kind of effort to score there? Most would have been interfered with by Oshie, looked at the ref, tossed up his hands and demanded justice. Zetterberg claims his own justice.
Outside of a bad penalty by Emmerton, the fourth line had another great night. Seems that none of those guys can finish, but they sure can finish checks. I don't remember if Emmerton hit people last year like he does this year. I think a lot of that has to do with Tootoo inspiring his linemates. They see him knock someone down, they hear the crowd go nuts and they want a piece of that action.
The PP scored twice tonight, which is awesome. Our overall PP% is still bad, but our top line is ok. It's the second PP unit that can't get anything going. Now, there's two young defensemen on the point, so I don't expect them to be perfect. I think the problem is that Bert, Val and Cleary are not on the same page. Passes are off, guys are carrying the puck into traffic and no one seems willing to shoot. They need to get going soon or the coaching staff will have to make some changes. Like Eaves on the wing.
Anyone else almost die of a heart attack when you saw Howard on the ice in so much pain? This team simply can't lose Howard for long stretches if they want to make the layoffs and do some serious damage once in.
The Backes hit: If that same call had gone against us after Tootoo or Kronwall had made the same hit, I would have been pissed. So take it for what it was, Detroit: A break. We got a break there. Of course, St Louis fans would have you forget all the cheap interference calls against us and the ones they somehow got away with. We'll take it.
NOHS Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Zetterberg. 3g 1a and an effort that only a Red Wings captain could put forth.
Second Star: Howard. I don't usually like it when goalies give up 3 goals in a game, but the Blues are a damn good team and Howard kept us in it when they could have pulled away in the second period.
Third Star: Brunner. 5 game point streak and his NHL career is 7 games old. If he signs long term, I'll be buying his jersey.
That's a huge win overall, because a loss would have made it really hard to catch the Blues. Once we get our regulars back, I suspect we'll make a push for the central. Especially if the Lady Luck decides to pop a squat on one our rivals for once.
Blue Jackets tonight.